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Tseng, Caratini named Cubs Prospects of the Year

MLB.com @CarrieMuskat

CHICAGO -- Jen-Ho Tseng won't forget the 2017 season. The right-handed pitcher came to Wrigley Field, thinking he was going to be honored as the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, then manager Joe Maddon met Tseng and told him he was starting the next day.

"I didn't think pitching in the big leagues would come so fast," Tseng said.

CHICAGO -- Jen-Ho Tseng won't forget the 2017 season. The right-handed pitcher came to Wrigley Field, thinking he was going to be honored as the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year, then manager Joe Maddon met Tseng and told him he was starting the next day.

"I didn't think pitching in the big leagues would come so fast," Tseng said.

Cubs' Prospects of the Year

Both Tseng and catcher Victor Caratini got their first taste of big league action this year, and have also been named the Cubs Minor League Pitcher and Player of the Year by MLBPipeline.com.

Cubs Top 30 Prospects list

Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's top 30 Prospects list, and played the entire year in the organization.

Tseng, 22, went 13-4 with a 2.54 ERA in 24 starts between Double-A Tennessee and Triple-A Iowa. He had his first career 10-strikeout game on July 3 against Jacksonville while with the Smokies, and then went 6-1 with a 1.80 ERA in nine starts with the Iowa Cubs.

He was signed as a non-drafted free agent in July 2013. In 87 Minor League games over four seasons, he's 32-30 with a 3.17 ERA. Tseng was the Cubs' Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2014 when he went 6-1 with a 2.40 ERA at Class A Kane County. But he struggled the next two seasons. What happened?

"I was thinking too much," Tseng said.

The right-hander credited Tennessee pitching coach Terry Clark and Iowa pitching coach Rod Nichols for helping him get back on track.

Caratini, 24, was originally drafted by the Braves in the second round of the 2013 Draft. He batted .342 at Iowa with 10 home runs, 27 doubles, three triples and 61 RBIs in 83 games. The Cubs acquired him in July 2014 in a trade that sent Emilio Bonifacio and James Russell to the Braves.

Video: Top Prospects: Victor Caratini, C/1B, Cubs

He was called up three times during the regular season, and hit his first big league home run at Miller Park on July 30, then was sent down the next day.

Caratini rejoined the Cubs on Sept. 1. The only difficulty this year has been watching from afar as Hurricane Maria ravaged his native Puerto Rico.

Both he and Tseng have stayed with the team all month and got to enjoy the celebration when the Cubs clinched their second consecutive Central Division title.

Carrie Muskat has covered the Cubs since 1987, and for MLB.com since 2001. She writes a blog, Muskat Ramblings, and you can follow her on Twitter @CarrieMuskat.

 

Chicago Cubs